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文章原始标题:Why is it taking so long to dislodge the containership blocking the Suez Canal?


Edward Mahoney Professional Geologist
There are lots of answers that contain some of the facts. It’s interesting to read them. A lot of what happened comes down to mis-management of the Suez Canal by Eqypt, which is getting close to $6B a year in revenues from it.
The Situation
* The ship is massive and it’s wedged in, having dug its bow deeply into the sand on one side, and its stern into the other.
* You can’t unweight it to make it float higher unless you bring in massive barges with cranes capable of handing shipping containers and lifting them from the top of the load. That would take months, just to bring those barge mounted container handling cranes from some place like Holland —even if they exist.
* Divers can’t do anything. NOTHING.

* 这艘船体积巨大,它是楔入进去的,船头一侧深深陷入沙中,船尾一侧也深深陷入沙中。
* 你不能通过减轻重量使它浮得更高,除非你用巨型驳船装载起重机,来处理集装箱并将它们从上面吊起来。这需要几个月的时间,仅仅是从荷兰这样的地方引进那些装载在驳船上的集装箱起重机就需要几个月的时间——即使它们存在。
* 潜水员 什么 都做不了。

* There really isn’t likely to be a tug boat in the world powerful enough to pull the ship free; especially one you can get into the canal, and then you have the problem of what its prop wash would do to the rest of the canal as it pulled.
* Helicopters exist that can move a loaded container, but they would need to be mobilized from Europe. It would take a really long time for them to unload the ship, one container at a time.
What are real possibilities?
* Bringing in a barge mounted dredge, or a series of them —to attack the problem from four sides— is a possibility, but that would take quite a bit of time, and lots of time to dig. That might be what has to be done.
* Bring in really large land based earth moving equipment. I’m talking extremly large open pit mining equipment —the largest that exists in the world, such as bucket wheels and electric shovels. You don’t move them easily though.

* 世界上真的不太可能有一艘拖船强大到足以把船拉出来;特别是当拖船进入运河,然后你就会有一个问题:当它拉动时,螺旋桨涡流会对运河的其余部分产生什么影响。
* 直升机可以移动装载的集装箱,但它们需要从欧洲动员起来。他们一次只能卸一个集装箱,要花很长时间。
* 引进一艘或多艘挖泥船,从四面解决问题,是有可能的,但这需要相当长的时间,也需要大量的挖掘时间。这可能是必须要做的。
* 引进大型陆基挖土设备。我说的是世界上最大的露天采矿设备,如斗轮和电铲。但是移动它们并不容易。

* Bring in large hydraulic pumps —hydraulic monitors. You could wash the sand away from under the bow and stern. They can be incredibly powerful tools for cutting and moving sand, especially when it can be liquidifed. This would also need to be combined with no. 1 (above) as you would need to deal with the spoils from the washing.
* They could build some huge anchor points on land, and attach some massive winches to them. You’d need to build at least 4 of them, two on each side, and they would need to have very deep foundations. Then the concern would about whether you would risk pulling this ship apart. On the scale of the size of the ship, the steel of the hull has about the same strength as the aluminum foil you wrap food in.

* 引进大型液压泵,液压监视器。你可以把船头和船尾下面的沙子冲走。它们是切割和移动沙子的难以置信的强大工具,尤其是当沙子被液化的时候。这也需要结合第一点(上面) ,因为你需要处理洗过的脏东西。
* 他们可以在陆地上建立一些巨大的支撑点,并在上面安装一些巨大的绞盘。你至少需要建造4台,每边两台,并且它们需要有非常深的地基。然后担心的是你是否会冒险把这艘船撕成碎片。从船体的尺寸来衡量,船体钢材的强度与包装食物的铝箔差不多。

John Jones BA Economics & Geography, University of South Africa (1988)
Very simply because it’s a gargantuan engineering problem.
No 1. There is no way that containers can be safely brought off the ship. These boats were designed to be loaded and unloaded in specially designed ports with specially designed super massive cranes. Always operating in groups of three. It has to be three. Take containers off one end and the boat tips down on the ‘heavy’ side. Take containers off the middle and the boat cracks in the middle because it’s spine is broken by the weight on both ends. It must be three cranes. These cranes would be needed to be brought by ship and the canal is ummm……..blocked. Otherwise wide tarred roads would have to be built on either side because as yet roads wide and strong enough to bring them in do not exist yet. If that ship’s hull breaks then the canal may be closed for years while the structure is dismantled. This ship can ( and looks to indeed be carrying ) 20 000 containers.


No 2. You have all seen pictures of that ‘digger’ in front of the ship. They really might as well have given the crew of that digger a child’s bucket and spade. They would need to remove 100 m x 20 m x 40 m = 80 000 cubic metres of sand to remove enough sand and sludge to move the ship.
No 3. It’s going to take a week or two or three simply to model the flow of water and sand around the hull. The first step is to arrive at an intention. Then build a model of that intention and the dynamics of how it would work and the problems which they would need to anticipate. Oh and then build a project team to carry it out. We are talking weeks here.
No easy solutions here. I don’t have one. Nobody does. Yet.


Robert Matthews Former bio major, deeply interested in health;
Deliberate sabotage?
The grounding seems extremely suspicious:
(1) The captain is a highly paid professional, not a teenager fond of stupid pranks. How is it then that the ship followed such a weird path before entering the Suez: a crude drawing of a penis?
(2) Navigation along the canal is done by dedicated professionals who do the same job day in and day out for years on end. They are intimately familiar with every single detail of the canal’s topography. How did they manage to run the ship aground?
(3) For most of its path, the canal has channels for ships entering from the Red Sea or the Mediterranean. A powerful sandstorm supposedly blew this enormous ship off course in an unusual spot: where the canal narrows to a single channel that can block traffic in both directions. How convenient! Has similar massive storm damage to ships or infrastructure been reported anywhere else along the canal?

(1)船长是一个高薪的专业人士,而不是喜欢愚蠢恶作剧的青少年。那么,为什么这艘船在进入苏伊士运河之前沿着这样一条奇怪的路线: 粗糙的生殖器图?

Taken together, 1~3 seem like deliberate sabotage, not acts of God (I believe force majeure is the term used in the insurance industry).
Why is it taking so long? Perhaps somebody wants it to take a long time.
Connect the dots: over the past year some hidden group has the ability to provoke “accidental” explosions, fires and other “Acts of God” that are shutting down the world economy in preparation for …?
(A) Large meat packing plants mostly staffed by strong young immigrant workers have beeo shut down over fears of a flu that mostly kills people with weak immune systems (happens every year)
(B) Hydroxychloroquine, a cheap medicine that has been used all over the world for decades (patent expired, so profit motive not present) is in short supply thanks to a massive explosion that destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Taiwan

B、羟氯喹是一种在世界各地使用了几十年的廉价药品(专利过期,所以没有利润动机) ,由于台湾一家制药厂发生大规模爆炸而供应不足。

(C) Texas, the only US state with its own electrical grid, suffered a critical breakdown: petroleum and plastics from major domestic providers are now in short supply.
(D) China was hit by severe flooding for weeks. Vast tracts of farmland that produce China’s food have been rendered unusable. China will not allow its peoule to starve.
(E) Food shipments to many countries have been reduced (containers are in short supply) because China is paying top dollar to feed its own people.
(F) The soybean supply that directly or indirectly feeds so much of the world’s population is in trouble


Geoffrey Widdison Chemical Engineer (2006-present)
Because the thing is big.
No, I mean, it’s really, really big.
If a rowboat runs around, you can basically push it free by hand. If a fishing boat runs aground, you might need a more powerful vessel to get it loose, but modern containerships...
You see that, right? That’s a bulldozer, looking very much like a toy, next to a small section of the ship.
This is a ship the size of the Empire State Building. And it’s weight, when fully loaded is pretty similar to a skyscraper as well. Imagine a massive building lying on it’s side, and you’re given the task of moving it. What are you going to do?
There are things they can do, but those look to require some major equipment, which needs to be brought into place, sited, set up, and a plan needs to be developed and executed, and if it doesn’t work, then they need to try something else, which might be even more complicated.
Moving something of that enormous size is wildly difficult. If you got lucky, tugboats and the ship’s own engines might be able to do it. But if you’re not lucky (and it looks like they’re not), then you have to build a plan to do something from the ground up. Frankly, a week is pretty optimistic under those circumstances.


Jon Mixon
Let's see:
1. The ship ran aground in a relatively remote area - All of the equipment necessary to remove it (cranes, dredgers, earthmoving vehicles,etc.) needs to be brought in and that takes time.
2. The Egyptian government doesn't seem to have had any serious contingencies in place to deal with an event of this nature - The media reports from the country indicate that there's a great deal of confusion going on and that rarely leads to quick solutions.
3. The captain of the vessel doesn't seem to have been too competent - Instead of slowing his passage through the canal due to high winds and poor visibility, he seems to have believed that he could travel through at normal speeds and that seems to have been a factor in the grounding. Time is being lost due to the captain's poor judgment and multiple errors


4. The canal’s dimensions versus the size of the vessel - The ship in question was near the limits of what vessels can safely transit the canal. There was little room for error (literally and figuratively) yet that's exactly what happened. If the vessel was smaller, then refloating it or moving it would be easier than it's going to be.
5. The relative competence of the Egyptian government - Corruption and mismanagement are not unknown quantities in the Egyptian government. If the government was stable and relatively free of corruption then while the matter would still be serious, it would also be manageable. However the solutions and resolutions in this matter are going to take longer as Egypt has an incompetent and corrupt government handling it.


Robin Daverman world traveler
Why is it taking so long to dislodge the containership blocking the Suez Canal?
Accidents happen, but how one deals with the accident is not “an act of God” but entirely of one’s own doing. The appalling lack of efficiency in salvage is on full display here.
This is not how it’s done. This is betting all on hope alone. This kind of ships have 80 feet under the water. Digging 2 feet at the water line does nothing.
Egypt loses $15 million a day when the Canal is blocked. With that kind of money, can they at least send a couple of divers to go down and take some pictures? Can they at least figure out just how stuck is the ship? Can they find a way to unload some cargos and let buoyancy do some work? Can they recruit someone who actually knows math and physics? Basically, start working on a fail-proof plan, instead of betting it all on wishful thinking?
Good grief!


Mohamed Emara lives in Alexandria, Egypt
It's easier said than done.
Ever Given is a gigantic container ship, actually it's one of the largest in the world. The incident is still being investigated, but it's said that the ship ran aground after getting caught in strong winds and a large sandstorm that caused low visibility and poor navigation.
A statement issued by the Egyptian cabinet said that 9 tug boats, 2 dredgers and 4 diggers are currently trying to free the stranded ship.
The US offered to help and a Dutch firm called Smit Salvage is cooperating with the Suez Canal Authority to dislodge the ship.
The SCA said that it is necessary to remove up to 20,000 cubic metres of sand around the ship to dislodge it. Obviously it's not an easy task and might take weeks in order to get the job done.

美国表示愿意提供帮助,一家名为Smit Salvage的荷兰公司正在与苏伊士运河管理局合作将这艘船移走。

Ernie Wisner
because the folks clearing it right now are idiots. the ditch has a current the longer that boat stays in the current the tighter it will wedge. the more they try and dig with that little shovel the tighter it gets. if they had gotten a couple freighters with lines on it bow and stern they could have eased her back into the channel and had not problems but instead they wasted as much time as possible with inexperienced crews and now have to wait for the “professional’s” to come in and make more of a mess out of it to the tune of several hundred thousand an hour. that is a three ring circus without tents playing out right there.


Muhammed Borhanuddin Lived in SEA more than 20 years
The massive 220,000-ton, 400m-long ship is stuck diagonally on the canal surface which is only around 200m wide.
But the real problem lies somewhere else. That’s carelessness of the owners of such oversize ships and of the traders involved.
The Suez Canal is not capable of handling such oversize ships and, as far as we know, concerns have been raised long back about such a potential casualty. But no one ever invested a serious thought over it until the current accident happened.


Jesse Melton
A very unfortunate collection of significant engineering challenges.
Its bulbous bow is deeply embedded in the ground.
Its stern is wedged into the opposite bank.
It’s extremely big.
It’s fully loaded with 20,000 full cargo containers making it one of the heaviest moving objects on Earth.
In a modern, fully equipped port the ship takes about seven days to unload. There are no port facilities in the middle of the desert where the ship is stuck.
Big things cause big problems when something goes wrong.


Mostafa Zaghloul studied Electrical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University
Egypt's response has been pretty relatively good sofar with a lot of equipment and international companies arriving relatively quickly on the scene considering the circumstances.
Egypt has the some of the biggest dredgers in the world but using them in such a remote and narrow strait can be really challenging. They already tried to tow it but they couldn't dislodge the bulboud bow which is solidly dug in.
This is a huge and heavy ship (247000 tons) and offloading it will take weeks so the most effective solution would be to dig around the stuck bulbous bow of the ship and then pull it out with the already available tow boats (as per SMIT which is spearheading the rescue).


Peter Walker Mechanical Fitter at Uranium Mine
Looking pic on the news it pretty obvious that containers need to be moved. Someone suggested barge mounted cranes. It's not going to happen. They are slow lifters as they need to move ballast to balance the load.
My suggestion is build a pad and bring in a big crawler crane.


Dominic Tramonte
Have you taken a look at the photos?
She appears to have buried the entire bulb bow in the bank. They'll probably have to bring up a dredge and get her floating again; I don’t think they can assemble enough tugs to pull her off. One thing the photos don’t show is current environmental conditions, but the same sand storm that (may have) caused the accident will play hell with the recovery operations. You don’t move 200,000 tons of shipping safely and quickly, not even in open waters.


Melaku Teguegne
“Why is it taking so long to dislodge the containership blocking the Suez Canal?”
Someone forgot to call The Libertarian Party. If Libertarians were in control of the Suez Canal, the containership would have been dislodged by now.


Gene Harvey
WELLLL, Since everybody is putting their two cents in, here’s mine:The satellite photos show many other vessels of similar size and tonnage on both sides of the grounded tanker.
So why don’t they hook the anchors together, fore and aft, to ships on opposite sides, and use the other ships to pull in opposing directions. Surely the other tankers have sufficient motive power to accomplish the task.
Might not work, but that’s my 2 cents.


Amay Rai Data Analyst
A large cargo ship is stuck in the Suez Canal in Egypt and tractors and diggers make the best attempts to displace this large container ship. Since March 23, and over 48 hours later, the marine world is still struggling to get it floating.